Robert Latimer was convicted justly, Judge George Baynton of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench ruled June 19, in dismissing obstruction of justice and jury tampering charges against former Crown prosecutor Randy Kirkham.
In an exclusive interview with The Interim, Kirkham said it’s been “a long, long wait, and I’m glad it’s all over.”
Latimer was convicted of second-degree murder last year for the “mercy killing” of his daughter Tracy, who had cerebral palsy. A previous conviction was overturned because of the allegations against Kirkham, who was the prosecutor in the first trial. Specifically, he was said to have questioned potential jurors on their views about abortion, euthanasia, and religion, in an attempt to stack the jury.
Kirkham’s supporters say Baynton’s decision vindicates Kirkham’s conduct. They also say it further vindicates Latimer’s conviction, and that Canadians with disabilities are less vulnerable to the misguided “mercy” of others as a result.
Kirkham and his defence lawyer, Aaron Fox, are now vigorously pursuing financial compensation for the two years Kirkham was suspended by the Saskatchewan ministry of justice. Kirkham has been hired back, but is still seeking reinstatement as a Crown prosecutor.
Because of the financial hardship imposed by the suspension, Kirkham was forced to sell his house. His successful renovation of a more modest home led to work in the home renovation business, to provide much-needed income.
Unfortunately, while he may have survived financially, Kirkham says the stress of the case against him and related career complications contributed to the breakdown of his marriage.
Describing himself as an inactive Lutheran, Kirkham says he doesn’t belong to any pro-life organizations or groups advocating the rights of people with disabilities. Although he has opinions on such matters, he feels a Crown prosecutor must not be perceived as biased.
In clearing Kirkham, Judge Baynton indicated the charges against Kirkham weren’t well thought out. He also said the law doesn’t spell out the rules for gathering background information on jurors.
Pro-life observers note that in a 1984 Toronto case, Henry Morgentaler hired U.S. jury selection consultants, effectively ensuring a uniformly pro-abortion jury. They also note that the Supreme Court of Canada has recently approved questioning potential jurors about their views on racial matters, to ensure racial minorities are given a fair trial.